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Date: c. 370-365 B.C.

"True, Phaedrus. But nobler far is the serious pursuit of the dialectician, who, finding a congenial soul, by the help of science sows and plants therein words which are able to defend themselves and him who planted them, and are not unfruitful, but have in them a seed which others brought up in ...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: c. 370-365 B.C.

He "who thinks that even the best of writings are but a memorandum for those who know, and that only in principles of justice and goodness and nobility taught and communicated orally for the sake of instruction and graven in the soul, which is the true way of writing, is there clearness and perfe...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Imagine, then, for the sake of argument, that our minds contain a block of wax, which in this or that individual may be larger or smaller, and composed of wax that is comparatively pure or muddy, and harder in some, softer in others, and sometimes of just the right consistency."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"When a person has what the poet's wisdom commends as a 'shaggy heart,' or when the block is muddy or made of impure wax, or oversoft or hard, the people with soft wax are quick to learn, but forgetful, those with hard wax the reverse."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"'Having' [knowledge] seems to me different from 'possessing.' If a man has bought a coat and owns it, but is not wearing it, we should say he possesses it without having it about him."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Now consider whether knowledge is a thing you can possess in that way without having it about you, like a man who has caught some wild birds--pigeons or what not--and keeps them in an aviary he has made for them at home."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

While having knowledge may be analogous to a man who "has" birds in an aviary, "in another sense he 'has' none of them, though he has got control of them, now that he has made them captive in an enclosure of his own; he can take and have hold of them whenever he likes by catching any bird he choo...

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Once more then, just as a while ago we imagined a sort of waxen block in our minds, so now let us suppose that every mind contains a kind of aviary stocked with birds of every sort, some in flocks apart from the rest, some in small groups, and some solitary, flying in any direction among them all."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"When we are babies we must suppose this receptacle empty, and take the birds to stand for pieces of knowledge."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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Date: 360-355 B.C.

"Perhaps, Socrates, we were wrong in making the birds stand for pieces of knowledge only, and we ought to have imagined pieces of ignorance flying about with them in the mind."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.